Who: Lori, James, Danielle

What: 
3-day, 2-night stay in the Chicago area

Where:
 Woodstock, Northbrook, Winnetka, Des Plaines, Chicago, Highland Park 

When:
 July 11-13, 2014

Why:
 Home Alone goals
Sites Visited:
Groundhog Day                      Family Matters
Ferris Bueller's Day Off           The Fugitive
    Ferris' High School             Perfect Strangers
    Sculpture                           The Vow
Home Alone
The Breakfast Club
While You Were Sleeping
    Peter's Apartment
    Lucy's Apartment
    Chicago City Scene
    Lucy's Booth
    Church


In January 2015, I had a dream. A dream where I went to Chicago to go see the house from Home Alone and I got to stand in front of it. It was an incredible dream. An absolutely glorious dream. A dream in which I smiled internally for most of the night (I'm assuming).

Then I woke up still in New York City, nowhere near Kevin McCallister;s house, and I was super pissed.

So that summer I booked a trip. 3 days. A dozen film sites. A whirlwind of fun. I enlisted my brother, James and sister-in-law Danielle to come along for the journey, and we were all set. A few months prior, James had been in Vegas for work and spent his downtime going to the pawn shop from Pawn Stars and the street where Tupac was shot. Stalking was a family pastime and I wanted to enjoy these pastimes with the family who'd love them.

We flew out on a Friday morning and hit the ground running. James,who'd only gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night before, was less than thrilled about the adventure. He is a terrible person. 


(Groundhog Day film location)

In the film, a frustrated Bill Murray gets stranded in this town forced to relive the same day over and over again. In real life, this happy little town, stranded in time, capitalized on its fame by reliving the film over and over and over again to the complete delight of its tourists.

(Groundhog Day film location)

We started at the Royal Victorian Manor, the bed and breakfast where Bill Murray woke up every morning to Sonny and Cher. A little different with flags up for Independence Day and sadly, no snow, it was still the Groundhog bed and breakfast, no buts about it. Plus, there was a plaque!


















In planning this trip, I thought seriously of renting a room in here, but then I realized Bill Murray wouldn't be walking around and there'd no point. Sorry, Royal Victorian Manor.

A mile down from the inn, we then went to the actual town where all the action happened and where my brain exploded from nostalgia. The entire movie - all pretty much filmed within a three block radius -- 20 years later, it is STILL THE SAME. 

The stage where Phil and Rita danced to Nat King Cole is STILL THE SAME.

The place where they built a snowman is STILL THE SAME.


The street where Ned accosted Phil 2 dozen times is STILL THE SAME.


(Groundhog Day film location)

The opera house Phil jumped out of is STILL THE SAME.

(Groundhog Day film location)

The street where Phil stepped into a puddle is...


(Groundhog Day film location)

...NOT THE SAME. But there's a plaque! So it's okay!!

After we walked around for awhile and I sufficiently freaked out to epic proportions, we went into a small bookstore where I was able to buy a Groundhog Day calendar and drinking glass. If there's anything I love more than a movie site, it's buying movie merch at that movie site. Woodstock, you are my everything.



2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, IL


(Home Alone house location)

Sometimes dreams really do come true.

(Home Alone house location)

Cranky Pants McGee actually made it out of the car for this one. Secretly he was excited. Outwardly, he put on a sour puss.


(The Breakfast Club school location)

When we pulled in, my brother asked if I really needed to get out of the car for a photo. He can be funny  sometimes.

                                                                                (The Breakfast Club school location)

After being on the go since 5am, we then checked into our hotel around 3, and my whiny brother took a nap.




(While You Were Sleeping film location)

When I say I have seen While You Were Sleeping over 200 times, it is not an exaggeration; it is fact. It used to be the only movie on my first video iPod and I watched it every single time I did the dishes. Or made a sandwich. Or cleaned the bathroom. Basically any time I had to engage in activities in rooms without a television. I can recite every line, name every character, and if there ever happened to be bar trivia devoted to the film, I know I would kill

Getting to visit the apartment at night just like Lucy Eleanor Moderatz and Jack Callaghan did in the film really added to the experience. 

Fun fact - in real life, the apartment's on a one-way street with the cars going right. In the film, all the cars were parked going left

You're welcome, America.



(While You Were Sleeping film location)



I would just like to take this time now to thank the earth for not allowing rain to fall down during my photo-taking session. The skies were looking angry that day, and I had grown concerned.


(Family Matters house location)


(Family Matters house location)

Did I do that? Why yes I did.

Once the suburban parts of Chicago had been taken care of, it was off to the downtown area where there were tons of places to walk and so many places to see!!


                           121 N La Salle St, Chicago, IL
                              (The Fugitive film location)


                 South of Wabash Ave Bridge, Chicago, IL
                                     (While You Were Sleeping film location)
                         
                         (Jump to next While You Were Sleeping location)



                    401 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
                                          (Perfect Strangers film location)



                           230 South Dearborn St, Chicago, IL
                                               (Ferris Bueller's Day Off film location)
                                         (Jump to next Ferris location)

                         Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
                                           (The Vow film location)
                             (Jump to next Vow location)


(While You Were Sleeping film location)


 
(While You Were Sleeping church location)

Towards the beginning of the film, the Callaghans went to this church to pray for their beloved son/brother/grandson/friend to awake from his coma. 


And then at the end of the film, they went back to this church for the wedding of said son/brother/grandson/friend and Sandra Bullock. 



In the film, we're supposed to believe everyone is at a chapel in the hospital, but spoiler alert... THEY'RE NOT! They're at a smaller chapel located just to the left of the main altar of the Mount Carmel church.

After the mass, a Eucharistic minister pointed out the chapel to me and I got so flustered by being in the same room as my favorite scene and so afraid of some priest walking in and accusing me of heresy, I took the WORST PICTURES EVER.


Wrong angle.


Completely wrong angle.

Think, Lori. THINK.



Once I realized what I'd done, I was already outside. Even though I had the greatest urge to rush back in there...I didn't.

Sometimes late at night, when i find myself watching the movie or thinking about Chicago in general, I debate whether or not I should book myself a plane ticket, go back to the subway and the church, take my photos...and then fly back home.

It's not completely off the table. (Editor's update: Chicago revisited 2016)

With my supreme mess-up, my stalking part of the trip was complete and we spent the rest of the day visiting the Willis Tower so Danielle and I could test out the observation tower...and James could gag 20 feet away from the windows trying not to have a panic attack.



A good time for all!!

The next morning, we got up to prepare to go back home, but before we went to the airport, we managed to find time for one final spot:


Turns out, I wasn't the only one with dreams.


Thanks for the mem'ries, Chicago!
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